Homeowners often design their kitchens around cookbook libraries, high-end gourmet cooking accessories, wine collections, or pet food stations. For a Bloomfield Township woman, her kitchen had to accommodate not only family and her kids’ sports teams gatherings but, just as important, a bit of artistry.
Her favorite painting, in fact, holds an extremely prominent spot above a workstation in the kitchen area — a place where she sees it several times a day. “I love, love, love that painting,” she says, looking up to a watercolor gem that features a wide-ranging palette of greens.
The painting’s focal point is a large tree with many branches and leaves. Perhaps the homeowner’s attraction to the painting is analogous to her love of family; the expansive tree truly is reminiscent of growth, transformation, and connectiveness — all traits of family.
“I was after a family house,” reflects the homeowner, thinking back a few years ago to when her family broke ground on its new home.
Raising her children among pleasant, welcoming surroundings is paramount to this accomplished oil, pastel, and watercolor artist and former design director for Detroit television.
Two years ago this season, she and her family moved into their new French-influenced Colonial-style home, enjoying one of their best Christmas presents ever.
“It’s about 100 yards from our former home; we wanted to stay in the area so the kids could still be near friends and in the same school system,” she says.
Today, the house — built by Kellett Construction Co. of Bloomfield Hills — is filled not only with art, but also with light, space, and plenty of happiness, thanks to a family whose hobbies range from horseback riding to art to music to sailing.
Ode to Joy
Architect Alex Bogaerts of Alexander V. Bogaerts & Associates of Bloomfield Hills, along with his associate, interior designer Caryn Satovsky-Siegel, created a family-style home that brings the inhabitants joy by the second.
“I told Caryn and Alex I wanted the house to be cheerful and filled with sunlight,” recalls the homeowner, “so there are windows everywhere. We chose this site because of its southern elevation,” which brings more light into the home during winter months.
When the homeowner and her husband first started thinking about moving, they considered homes that were already built. “But we wanted a home with an art studio,” she says. “I didn’t want to be painting in the basement.”
Situated over the garage, the studio is her paradise. “Alex (Bogaerts) is an amazing architect. I told him I’d love to have a north-facing window in the studio (every artist’s dream) because it’s like a big light box. Sure enough, he could do that.”
Because her husband is an avid sailor, a few important water-themed accents adorn the home. In the living room, an abstract painting that features Nova Scotia (a favorite family vacation spot) draws the eye with soothing blues and first-sunlight-of-the-day pinks. “It’s of a honky-tonk kind of town along the water,” says the homeowner. “We just love it; it reminds us of the fun (her son loves the rock-climbing opportunities in the maritime province) we have going there.”
The family also has peppered the home with reminders of their journeys. In the bathroom, for example, a variety of seashells they’ve discovered on some of their trips evoke a day at the seashore.
Various shades of greens are used throughout the home, indoors and out. Hydrangeas of different varieties surround the pool and front walkway (“I love that chartreuse green!” says the homeowner), while pots brimming with all sorts of greenery flank the front door. Troy-based Gillette Brothers Pool & Spa designed and installed the gorgeous pool, while Green Earth Services, a landscaping outfit in Bloomfield Hills, created a verdant paradise that includes window boxes. Deborah Silver of Detroit Garden Works in Sylvan Lake created several arrangements in the home.
“The success of this home is based on the team who worked on it, from the architect to the garden team to the cabinetry specialists,” says the homeowner.
Heart of the Home
A house for all seasons, it is especially welcoming when the snow flies. On any given winter’s night, one might find the family and their friends sitting at the table just off the kitchen, catching up on the day’s events and enjoying homemade pizza or spaghetti while warming themselves in front of a two-way fireplace. “That fireplace was on my husband’s wish list,” says the homeowner, “and he got it.”
Above the table, a white-painted chandelier made of tree sticks and branches adds a hushed light to the room. A bright-red cardinal ornament occupies the middle of the chandelier year-round.
“That cardinal reminds me of my mother, as do so many things here. Much of what she passed on to us was the art that she made or had meaning for her. Art is a legacy, really.”
For the all-important kitchen, the homeowner wanted a large and spacious cooking and hangout area. Caden Design Group of Birmingham designed the kitchen cabinetry and storage, along with nearly all of the other shelving and storage in the home.
“Whenever we go to someone’s house for a gathering, everyone is in the kitchen; it doesn’t matter how beautiful the rest of the house is,” she says. “So we supersized the kitchen; the architects, the designers, everyone knew that we wanted it to be the hub of the home.”
She adores her quartzite (it has the look of marble without marble’s porous qualities) countertops. “They don’t stain and are super hard.” The proof? Just two days after she moved in, the homeowner hosted her book club and some of the members accidentally spilled red wine on the counters — but luckily it was no problem.
“Yes, I picked the right stuff,” she says with a laugh.
With a trained background in art (she received a bachelor’s degree in fine art from the University of Michigan), it was easy for the homeowner to compile a “lookbook” of her design, color, and style preferences.
She also knows what looks good where. Creative touches include a couple of treasured quilts. One, made by her mother, features the New York Beauty pattern and hangs prominently in a lower level. The other draws the eye as soon as one enters the family room/kitchen area. With pops of reds, yellows, and other colors, it’s a 19th-century Crazy Quilt from Pennsylvania and one of the home’s centerpieces. The homeowner also has a penchant for equine-themed pieces (one of the family members is an avid rider who competes); various walls, shelves, and mantels showcase horse-related medals, ribbons, and art.
A painting by one of the homeowner’s former professors hangs in a passageway, while in the kitchen, above a desk, the aforementioned watercolor by Susan Demchak takes the spotlight.
“I’m so crazy about that painting that I took it to Jodi at Caden and asked if they could design an area for it. She got a good idea of the colors and feel of it.” And thus was born an attractive workstation and storage area at one end of the kitchen.
“Everything we put in our home has meaning or a story behind it,” she says, looking at the splendid tree in the painting. “That’s why we still have some blank walls.” Undoubtedly, there are stories yet to be told — and art yet to be discovered … or created.
Photographs by Martin Vecchio // Floral Styling by Cindy Hicks